Sunday 18 October 2009

Oman: nitrogen in your tyres, sir?

I had the misfortune of visiting the most badly run garage in Oman this week to service the Prado. An entire blog could be dedicated to the shambles that is the Toyota garage in Al Mawaleh, but I did come away with a smile. While teaching the (Omani) assistant standard Arabic as he was checking the car in, he (resorting to English) asked if I wanted ‘gaz in the tyres’.
‘ mean check the pressures?’
‘We take out gas and put in nitrogen.’
‘Why?’ An answer was beyond his level of competence. My laughter might have been a clue, but I declined the offer.

Nitrogen is indeed used in aircraft tyres to stop moisture freezing at high altitude. Not a big problem here. It is also used in racing cars to avoid gnats-arse variations in pressures. So, in a country where tyre quality is measured by the number of matching tyres on a vehicle, somebody at Toyota came up with the idea of offering rocket science technology to certain gullible customers. You’ve got to admire their balls.

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